FedEx Corporation: To Infinity and Beyond

Posted on July 1, 2014

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imagesBy Lees Romano

For FedEx, the sky is no longer the limit.

The company recently announced its intention to collaborate with the commercial space industry. The FedEx Space Desk is designed to be a “one-stop shop” for space industry consumers, providing information about shipping everything from satellites to biomedical materials to be used in space. FedEx’s new service applies a geolocation tracking and packaging system as a way for commercial space companies to ship sensitive, expensive materials before and after they are sent into space. The Space Desk is just a foundation of FedEx Space Solutions, a system that features a team of specialists trained by Space Tango, and apply the same sort of tracking used for deliveries to individuals bound for outer space.

Kentucky Space, partnering with FedEx, is creating the CubeSat, a satellite with its own batteries, solar panels for power generation, radios for communication, and computers. Soon, these CubeSats will be tested to make sure that they meet NASA requirements while FedEx will be in charge of the logistics needed to complete the launch.

“We trust FedEx with our CubeSats, our International Space Station work- really everything,” Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer at Kentucky Space, said, “because we’ve encountered in the past how hard it is to deal with the logistics on a lot of these projects. We’ve really trusted them to get rid of that for us.”

Because FedEx is one of the Memphis area’s largest employers, any decision to bring office functions back to the FedEx campus in Memphis could greatly impact the office market, causing vacancy rates to surge and occupancy rates to experience a deep decline. FedEx and its subsidiaries lease over 300,000 square feet of office space—equivalent to half the space available for lease at Clark Tower. The 75,000 square feet FedEx Express is vacating is about one-fourth of the company’s total leased space.

Currently, FedEx Corp., FedEx Express, and FedEx Trade Networks lease space at office buildings such as Crescent Center, Forum II, Renaissance Center, Thousand Oaks, and Shady Grove. Consolidations and reorganizations such as these in FedEx Express and FedEx Services is attributed to buyouts and layoffs in the company’s effort to increase FedEx profits by $1.7 billion per year by the end of 2016.

“FedEx can certainly move the needle in the Memphis market, and the fact that they are not renewing at Lenox is indicative of a recurring theme we are seeing in the normal economy,” said Ron Riley of Colliers International Memphis, a leading global commercial real estate company. “Companies continue to look for ways to gain greater efficiencies and drive the bottom line.”

Reorganization has been on the horizon for FedEx, as the FedEx Innovation team develops futuristic, game-changing ideas in conjunction with technological advances. As a cross-discipline team aimed at identifying emerging customer needs, changing technologies, discovering innovative solutions, and strengthening their business, the FedEx Innovation researches demonstrate bold new concepts to promote long-term improvements of the company and packaging in general.

Lees Romano is a Rhodes College sophomore and plans to major in English.

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